Mash the State: Lewisham

Sorely-missed Lewisham blogger Andrew Brown got in touch recently to tell us about a campaign to encourage Councils to embrace RSS feeds on their website to make it easier for residents to keep track of everything that's happening in their borough.

While it's a laudable enough aim, it's not top of the list of things we'd like to see the Council spend time doing. However, details of the campaign are below for people who love the technology. On the other hand, this is also a good opportunity to heap praise on Lewisham Council for its Twitter service.

When we first started blogging about Brockley, getting information from Lewisham Council press office was like squeezing blood from a stone. Today, the service is unrecognisable - they're proactive, responsive and helpful.

It helps, of course, that Brockley Central is more established than it was when we started troubling them, but its indicative of a broader culture shift and now, one of the best ways to follow the work of the Council and commune with the press office is to follow them on Twitter. While you're about it, follow us too please.

The architect of "Mash the State" says:

Last week I launched Mash the State, a national campaign to get government data to the people. It’s not a new idea but our method is. We’ll be setting up a series of challenges to the public sector, asking one group of public bodies at a time to release one specific set of data. Our first challenge asks all local councils to serve up an RSS news feed by Christmas. I wouldn’t have bet good money in 2003 that by 2009 370 councils would still be without RSS, but here we are. I’ve thrown the gauntlet down and I’m pleased to see that a couple of hundred people have signed up to our website or followed us on Twitter to help make this happen. The councils have got over eight months to do what in most cases will not be more than half a day’s work to serve RSS from their websites. Others less fortunate will have to persuade their content management system suppliers to enable this feature for them. All have got plenty of time to perform this technically trivial task in time to give the public a small but highly symbolic Christmas present that shows that government in this country is prepared to trust its citizens with their own data.

You can sign up to the Lewisham page here: http://www.mashthestate.org.uk/councils/lewisham

13 comments:

Comment said...

Yes lets have the births data and a breakdown of the homeless list for the borough, so we can understand why certain planning decisions are made.

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The Oracle said...

What's big
and yellow
and coming our way?

Comment said...

A bananamobile

Anonymous said...

what do people think about Twitter?

I personally would never do it and can't imagine following the banal trivia about people that they choose to publish.

but..I AM interested in where it's leading...

any views?

tyrwhitt ali said...

I love it. It's useful for breaking news and getting updates on comedians, bands etc. Besides I like knowing the banalities of other people's lives.

Comment said...

I see the posts from Twitter from Brockley Central at the side and it's about Brockley Central, metablogging.

Can some page the Oracle as we haven't had an answer to the riddle?

Anonymous said...

The long-awaited McDonalds is coming to Brockley. At last.

Tamsin said...

Has the storage company that has had a planning battle with Lewisham over the site on the corner of the South Circular and Burnt Ash Lane finally got victory is is moving in somewhere closer?
A children's riddle book I once had "What is big, and red, and eats rocks?"
Turn the page and there was a lovely picture of a big, red rock-eater!

The Oracle said...

Tamsin has it. It's Big and it's Yella! And it's Lewisham Way.

Tamsin said...

That is a rather grim prospect.

Where exactly?

patrick1971 said...

Interesting that McDonalds has chosen Lewisham Way. I've often thought that, compared with American and Australian cities, London actually has relatively few McDonalds. I know they hate having to use existing buildings (there have been many battles in Australian cities where McD wanted to knock an old building down and replace it with their standard box), which may have put them off doing even more locations in London.

That said, though, Lewisham Way seems an odd place to choose. I'd have thought the centre of New Cross, with all those students, would have been a more lucrative site.

Lewisham Council - Helen said...

We are looking to provide our information to Mash the State. We do have an rss newsfeed but it is not currently picked up automatically.(http://rss.icerocket.com/xmlfeed?id=11283)

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